Removed .lock files in /etc, now user folders missing
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The way the server is set up, all the home folders are located at /home/personal/username.
When I do a ls -la in /home, the entire /home/personal folder is gone, thus bringing with it all of the individual user folders.
Now, the weird part is that the disk space is still being used. I did a df -h right before everything disappeared and then right after. It was exactly the same.
These folders are also Samba shares that Windows/Mac/Linux users can access. Maybe that has something to do with it?
I was thoroughly caught off guard when this happened because obviously this behaviour should not happen when deleting .lock files.
The only other thing I was doing at the time was untarring an archive file. This was going into /home/personal/user/archivefile. I don't see how that would make a difference either, but you never know.
I found my mysteriously disappearing home folders. For some unknown reason, when I removed the lock files the home folders were moved into the home folder of the new user I was trying to create. I just moved them back to their proper spot and voila, everything was as it should have been.
It was very strange, but thank you all for the very quick responses.